When Character Takes a Back Seat

I’ve never written a political opinion piece before, but the issue at hand goes way beyond politics, so please forgive my rant. What’s my point?

Character matters. A lot. When leaders of low character are in charge, there’s only one way any organization (or country) can go.

Case study: Donald Trump. If Mr. Trump and I agreed on every single issue, I still couldn’t vote for him. He hasn’t demonstrated any character traits that I look for in a leader. Character always trumps issues (no pun intended).

I’m sure someone defends his character, but I don’t see how. So why does he have so many followers? I have a theory about that…

I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler’s as some have done, but watching how people align themselves with Trump gives me insight into the mindset that might cause people to follow leaders like Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin. It’s not that they like the leader, but they believe any radical change will be better than the status quo. I suspect many people aren’t voting for Trump as much as they are voting for radical change. That’s an understandable but dangerous path.

Lack of character has led to the downfall of the two-party system as an effective democratic mechanism. Party loyalty is now more important than finding the best solutions for America. It should not be so difficult to recognize a good idea just because it came from across the aisle. Politicians represent their party more than their people.

And while I’m on my rant, ignoring character has created a media machine that doesn’t seriously attempt to be unbiased. News organizations and journalists are motivated to create drama and promote agendas rather than discover truth – unless the truth creates drama or promotes their agenda. Instigative journalism has replaced investigative journalism.

Where does this lead? Never in history has a world power retained that status forever. Why, besides blind patriotism, would we expect America to be the first? Political, economic, and moral indicators all suggest the decline of America is well under way. That’s no surprise — Biblical end times prophecy mentions other nations but not America. That only makes sense if we’re not a superpower.

Enough doom and gloom. Whether America has a bright future or not isn’t what drives my hope and joy. I’m a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Whether I live in prosperity or suffering may change my momentary happiness but not my underlying joy. My fulfillment in life comes from revealing God’s glory to others and equipping them to be sources of pleasure to God. In the words of the Apostle Paul:

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Philippians 4:11-12 (NASB)

God has blessed America. Too bad America doesn’t bless Him.


9 thoughts on “When Character Takes a Back Seat

  1. I have to ask, “What remaining presidential candidate is high character?”

    Maybe I’m becoming cynical in my middle age, but I simply don’t think that anyone can succeed at politics at that high of a level and be high character. Too many moral and ethical compromises are required.

    You can definitely make the case that Trump doesn’t hide his moral failings as well as some of the other candidates, though.


    • You’re right. Donald Trump isn’t the problem, he’s just an easy target. The politicians and media aren’t really the problem either – they just give us what we’ll vote for and watch and listen to.

      The downfall of our society is our lack of character to demand character in our leaders and the media.


      • “The downfall of our society is our lack of character to demand character in our leaders and the media.”

        This viewpoint is pretty idealistic. I think I tend to be more pragmatic. It seems to me that the system simply isn’t one that lends itself to being winnable by people with high character.

        I agree with you, though, that we’re to blame. Take the primaries, for example. Republican candidates need the support of really conservative voters to win (well, in previous years anyway …), but in the general election, they need to appeal to moderate voters.

        That means that a candidate pretty much has to promise things in the primary and then back off those promises in the general election. I think both of us would term that process “lying,” not exactly a high character trait. But that candidate would never make it out of the primary if they didn’t make those promises, but they’d have no chance at winning the presidency if they didn’t back off. How can an high character candidate even run?


      • I think you are describing a systemic problem that goes deeper than media and even character. We thought we could kick God out of the governing process way back when we penned the Constitution. The freedom of Religion meant freedom of private personal piety, not freedom of God to rule us. That would be theocracy, and that is what we were getting away from at all costs.

        Nowdays freedom of religion has become freedom FROM religion. And in that mess, what is character? Whose character did you have in mind? It’s all up for grabs! We are all self made people living in a self made nation governed by ourselves. Your personal private piety is now better off in the closet while your kids are coming out of it with there new sexual orientations and alternative lifestyles. We made a mockery of heterosexual marriage long before we got gay marriage. The rules are changed and don’t even pretend to reflect the rule of God.

        Our constitution has come of age and we now have constituted a Frankenstein monster. What kind of character will you instill in that?

        The comment below this suggests that if you want to win the election YOU HAVE TO LIE! It’s the system that makes that a fact of American (LIFE?) culture. Even if you had a person you liked, he/she would have to lie to win! Wow! How very…. American? Well, it sure aint any nation under God – that’s for sure.

        The fact is we don’t need a democracy. We need the Kingdom of God! But we didn’t want that, so we got this.

        Wow! I am depressed now.

        I am going to pray.



  2. The man is a narcissist. I was reading that about him over a year ago, and I believed it then.

    If he becomes president, which I seriously doubt, then he would not be the first world leader to suffer it. But we would be the first nation to freely elect it into office!

    Honestly, I don’t care how you vote; I sense that DEEP DAMAGE has already been done to our culture that is likely irreparable. If Hillary wins, nearly half the nation will be sore losers just by virtue of her win. If the Republicans win (no matter the person) nearly half the nation will be sore losers just be virtue of their win. There is no respect for each other’s party or candidates. None. And the nation is largely split into BIG chunks over it. So that no matter who wins, there will be a LOT of SORE LOSERS.

    And anyway, I don’t see a candidate I would get excited about even in the running!

    Where’s Jesus when we need him?

    Come Lord! Come quickly!! How Long???

    (still… I care)


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